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Top Twelve Tips for Asking for College Savings Cash

Top Twelve Tips for Asking for College Savings Cash

Mark Kantrowitz

May 12, 2011

This article lists a dozen tips for asking for college savings cash as an alternative to traditional material gifts. It is a summary of the longer article, How To Ask Friends and Family for Money for a Child’s College Savings Plan.

1. The only way to get a cash gift to a child’s college savings plan is to ask. If you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get anything.

2. Ask for college savings cash at the usual gift-giving opportunities, such as birthdays, holidays, religious celebrations, graduation and other milestones. Also ask during college savings month in September.

3. Give friends and family a choice between traditional material gifts and money. This helps alleviate the awkwardness that comes with asking for money. Alternately, give the giver a choice between making a donation to a tax deductible charity or contributing to the child’s college savings plan.

4. Sell unwanted gifts on eBay to raise money for the child’s college savings plan.

5. When asking for money, identify the purpose of the gift. People feel more comfortable giving money when they know that the money will be used for a worthwhile purpose like paying for the child’s college education.

6. Do not ask for a specific amount of money, as it will make the giver feel guilty if they can’t afford to give that much. Asking for too much money may also be considered rude and may offend some people. Don’t be greedy.

7. When asking for money, use only positive words. Keep it simple and straightforward. Be polite.

8. You can reduce the awkwardness of asking for money by letting someone else do the asking on your behalf.

9. Many 529 college savings plans offer gift certificates as an option. Some will send email to your friends and family to ask for contributions on your behalf.

10. Third party social networking college savings sites will ask your friends and family for contributions on your behalf, but these sites all charge a fee for their services.

11. It is still considered a bit rude to ask for contributions to the child’s college savings plan on formal invitations to a party, shower or reception. The purpose of an invitation is ask the guest to participate in your special occasion, not to solicit gifts.

12. Send a personalized handwritten thank you note when you receive a contribution to your child’s college savings plan, the same as you would for a more traditional gift. Sending a thank you note encourages repeat gifts.


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